Orchid - student project


This was my model:

Orchid - image 1 - student project


Here are my various orchid experiments. #1 was at the top left #2 is top middle, #3 is top right, #4 is middle left, et cetera. 
Orchid - image 2 - student project


#1. Pencil. Line drawing. (Tentative)

Orchid - image 3 - student project


#2. Single unbroken line, aiming to draw the whole plant. (Promising, Modern)

Orchid - image 4 - student project


#3. Single unbroken line, zooming in on a couple of blossoms. (Clean)

Orchid - image 5 - student project


#4. Vaguest, quickest, representation of the whole. (Loose)

Orchid - image 6 - student project


#5. Watercolor, attempting to draw the whole. (Flintstones - yes, I know that is not an adjective, strictly speaking)

Orchid - image 7 - student project


#6. Watercolor, zooming in on & centering the leaves. (Bold)

Orchid - image 8 - student project

#7. Watercolor, impressionistic color play with blossoms. (Sensitive, subtle)

Orchid - image 9 - student project


#8. Watercolor, attempting to draw the whole and to incorporate color mixing, value contrast, and some impression of shading and depth by use of color and value. (Vibrant)

Orchid - image 10 - student project


#9. Watercolor, without looking at the object (Soft)

Orchid - image 11 - student project


10. Kuretake sumi ink quick drawing of the whole (Harried)

Orchid - image 12 - student project


Things I Learned:

  1. I enjoyed this exercise a lot – I found myself wanting more time with most of the pieces, though on some of them I rushed because time was short in a previous one and I ended up getting to a place where I felt complete with the work (based on what my intentions had been) before the timer went off. That happened in the 4th piece (where I was just trying to get a very general sense of the overall shape of everything), the 8th piece (which feels like my most complete piece) and the 10th
  2. Taking off the requirement to be representational was really liberating. Even though all of my pieces were representational, beginning to loosen up the idea that I need to be aiming for art that is representational feels really freeing.
  3. I realllllly enjoyed playing with the idea of using a single unbroken pencil line to draw with (as I did in #2 and #3). It makes it a given that it won’t look inherently like the drawing and it gives a way to play with simplifying a piece to some of its basic elements.
  4. This was not a surprise, but I really love working with color. Once I started using watercolor, it was hard to let that go. It really excites me to see the colors come alive.
  5. I had fun with quick color-matching. It was fun and rewarding to pick the colors intuitively and to mix them intuitively and to add shading and contrast without overthinking anything. I would love to incorporate more freedom into color selection in the moment in that way.
  6. That was one way that the speed was really liberating. There wasn’t time to think and think and think and think. So much happened in a very short period of time.
  7. I don’t usually sketch d(at all), let alone with watercolors directly. It was wonderful to just sketch directly with my watercolors without any pressure to have it “be good.”
  8. All of this helped me be less “precious” about my watercolors, my paper, my drawings, and the outcome. I can really see how when I hold the whole process lightly, there’s more room for learning and fun. It was a relief to let myself just “waste art supplies.”
  9. Studying the same object over and over again by focusing on different ways to explore it enhanced my experience of intimacy with that object over the course of the process. I felt like I knew it a lot better in its nuances than I had before.
  10. I liked getting to give just the impressions of certain shapes without getting too bogged down in the details. I really liked the 8th painting, because I’ve never sketched something so quick like that that also feels so realistic, without overworrying the process. Nevertheless, it seems like the basic shapes of the flowers and the leaves and the pot are still enough to convey the sense of what kind of plant it is and kind of generally what it looked and felt like.

I liked #3 and #8 the very best and they are also the pieces that feel the most complete to me. I loved how #3 came together – the detailed line drawing of a couple of the flowers, using just a single unbroken line. The result looks clean and confident and the shapes are simplified and uncluttered. I smile when I look at them. #8 has a vibrancy and vitality to it, the colors seem to go together well. I like the values and the contrast in the piece, from the deep saturation of the forward facing flowers, to the lighter pink of the flowers that are facing away, to the variations in the greens and the defined lines of the pot that is not, itself, much colored in (as the leaves are not fully colored in). There is a completeness to it and a vibrancy and even a little bit of depth. I would not have known I could have painted something like that.

I also liked #6 and #7. They were done fast and the strokes in #6 felt confident and the sensation of just reaching for paint and applying it fast and boldly like that felt good. In #7, I liked playing with the colors of the blossoms, mixing the bolder magenta and yellows on the right side and the more muted magenta-yellow combo on the left.

Although I didn’t have any particular fondness for the outcomes of drawings #2 and #4, in both cases, I liked the process very much. #2 was the first one where I tried drawing with a single unbroken line and with #4, I wasn’t aiming for any amount of detail at all. I just wanted to make the quickest possible impression of the whole overall plant. We had more time than I expected for that drawing, so I added a lot of detail that I hadn’t intended to have after I drew the quickest possible cloud shape of the whole. I liked that because in the previous ones, I hadn’t had time to get to the whole plant.

I didn’t like #9 so much, although that might have been predominantly because I didn’t have time for it. I tried drawing the plant without looking at the object, but I didn’t have time to get very far. #4 also just didn’t get to go very far.

I don’t have strong feelings about #1 and #10. I feel like in #1, I can see the limitations of my quick drawing skills and so, while I don’t hate it, I don’t love it and I don’t much want to keep playing with it. In the last one, I grabbed a brush pen with sumi ink in it and I was glad that I was able to make an impression of the whole plant quickly and relatively clearly, but it doesn’t really feel alive to me. I think if I slowed down, softened the sometimes harsh edges of things and perhaps played with line weight or with value more, it might pop more to me.

I could imagine continuing to play with #7. I see the potential for expanding #2 and #6, but I’m not inspired enough by what is on the paper to imagine that I would actually keep working on them. But, I really liked those color changes in the blossoms of #7 and could imagine continuing to add to the picture.

This was a wonderful class! I look forward to playing the game again and again!